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Cameron, Colin, b 1933 (Scottish lawyer and politician)



Colin Cameron was born in Lanark on 24 August 1933. He was educated at Uddingston Grammar School and then studied Law at Glasgow University graduating in May 1957 with the degree of Bachelor of Law. While at University he represented the Law Faculty on the Students' Representative Council.

He was resident in Uddingston, Glasgow, when his application for entry as an immigrant to the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was approved in June 1957. In Nyasaland (now Malawi), Cameron took up an appointment as a Solicitor with Messrs Wilson and Morgan, Legal Practitioners, Blantyre, a law concern strongly connected to the United Federal Party - the party of Sir Roy Welensky, Prime Minister of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, 1956-63. During a state of emergency in 1959, Cameron gave legal help to Africans who had been arrested and detained, and this led to objections from his employers and to ostracism by the white community. Cameron was a paid-up member of the African National Congress. In 1959, he also became a member of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian and three of his children were baptised into the local church.

On the expiry of his contract, he returned to Scotland in late 1960, but at the request of Dr. Hastings K. Banda he returned to Africa to stand in the 1961 General Election against the United Federal Party. In this Election for the Nyasaland Legislative Council held on 15 August 1961, Cameron, then aged 27, campaigned as an independent candidate in the Soche Constituency, receiving support in his campaign from the Malawi Congress Party headed by Banda. Cameron voiced his sympathy with the African Nationalist movement and expressly denounced apartheid. He indicated too that he was against the federal structure in Central Africa at that time. A daring challenge to Welensky to debate election issues with him met with the answer that the Prime Minister was fully committed. Cameron was elected to the Council along with the first Africans elected to government in Malawi, and in September 1961, he became Minister of Works and Transport with responsibility for Works, Transport, Water Supply and Sewerage across the country. Thereafter he was Minister of Transport and Communications with the responsibility of transferring the federal functions of Road, Rail, Air, and the Post Office back to the Malawi Government.

The Central African Federation to which Cameron indicated his opposition was dissolved in 1963. In August 1964, Cameron resigned from the Cabinet on the issue of the introduction by Banda of an amendment to the Constitution allowing detention without trial as part of the law of the newly independent Malawi. On the resumption of private legal practice in Blantyre he represented the former Minister of Education, Henry Chipembere, in a constitutional case which challenged Banda in the High Court, but this resulted in him having to leave Malawi with his family on forty-eight hours notice.

During the next thirty years, Cameron established his own legal practice in Irvine, Scotland, and although unable to return to Malawi he continued to support and take an active interest in refugees from Malawi who were then living in Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and the United Kingdom. After the first multi-party elections in Malawi in May 1994, Cameron and his wife were invited back to the country and he was offered the position of Honorary Consul for the Republic of Malawi in Scotland by the new President of the country, Bakili Muluzi.

Colin Cameron was, for six years, a member of the Council of the Law Society of Scotland, is an active member of Amnesty International, and is an active member of the Scottish National Party.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Colin Cameron papers relating to Nyasaland / Malawi

Identifier: Coll-70
Scope and Contents Contained in the Colin Cameron Collection are personal letters of congratulation on his election and his appointment as Minister; various personal documents including his letter of appointment as Minister; personal and private correspondence; business, correspondence, and questions and answers of the Legislative assembly, 1963-64; material for speeches; ministerial material; and, constituency material. The Collection also includes material on housing rentals policy; passenger transport; main...
Dates: 1952-1969